Storm Isha has left thousands of people in the UK without power after bringing heavy rain and winds up to 99mph.
Scotland, Northern Ireland, north-west England and Wales have been hit, and those in remote areas have been warned they might have no power until Tuesday. An 84-year-old man died after the car he was a passenger in crashed into a fallen tree in Falkirk, Scotland. Met Office warnings for wind remained on Monday morning, with more to follow later this week. Winds of 99mph (159kmh) were recorded in Northumberland, as uprooted trees and cancelled trains brought disruption. Meanwhile, Police Scotland said an 84-year-old man died after a car hit a fallen tree at about 23:45 GMT in Grangemouth, Falkirk, on Sunday. Power outages affected about 53,000 homes at the height of the storm in Northern Ireland. Around 30,000 properties were without power across England, Wales and Scotland on Monday morning, according to Energy Networks Association (ENA) – which represents energy providers. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government was working hard with authorities to restore power to homes, adding that electricity had returned to almost 300,000 properties. Lawrence Slade, from Energy Networks Association, said some properties might remain without power until Tuesday, particularly in remote areas.
He said it had been difficult to coordinate engineer teams because the storm had affected most of the UK, barring a small pocket in the east of England. “We’ve got to get engineers out but we can only do that when it is safe, when the winds have dropped down sufficiently,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He told the BBC that helicopters and drones would be deployed to help direct engineers into the affected areas faster. In the Republic of Ireland, about 235,000 homes and businesses have been hit by outages, according to latest figures. Meanwhile, dozens of schools are closed on Monday, mostly in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Highland Council in northern Scotland said 38 primary and secondary schools were closed, affecting more than 4,500 students. The highest gust so far recorded by the Met Office was 99mph at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland. Transport Scotland said a gust of 107mph was recorded on the Tay Bridge.
Fallen trees and damage to overhead power cables has also caused disruption across the rail network. ScotRail suspended services on Sunday evening and said there would be no services on Monday morning following the storm. Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink services are also expecting disruption until 14:00. East Midlands Railway has also said delays and alterations to its services were “likely”, and LNER announced no trains will run north of Newcastle until midday. Ferry services in Scotland have also been cancelled. The winds meant hundreds of flights were cancelled across the UK, and some who did make it into the air didn’t land at their intended destination A number of trees at the Dark Hedges in County Antrim, Northern Ireland – made famous by TV series Game of Thrones – have been damaged and felled by the storm. Two Met Office amber warnings took effect at 18:00 GMT on Sunday. One stretched across central, eastern and western England and all of Wales. The other covered all of Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. A rare, red warning covered an area stretching from Thurso and Wick in the north, Fraserburgh and Peterhead to the east and Cromarty and Nairn in the west.
A yellow weather warning will remain in place across the UK until midday. Another yellow warning for wind will take effect on Tuesday at 16:00. Storm Jocelyn has been named as the next named storm by the Irish weather agency, with the Met Office saying it will bring further strong winds and heavy rain to the UK on Tuesday and into Wednesday. BBC Weather presenter Helen Willetts said: “What is striking about Isha is how unusually widespread its reach has been with impacts felt right across the UK,” she said. “After a week with little rain but snow instead, the storm brought around 50 to 100mm of rain in the wettest areas and as a result flood warnings escalated again. “Although it’s not as severely windy now, showers, some heavy and thundery, will be accompanied by squally winds and will persist for much of today.” Storm Isha is the ninth named storm of the season that began in September 2023, with Storm Jocelyn becoming the tenth. If two more are named between now and August, 2023-24 will mark a new record.
The Met Office names storms when they have the potential to cause disruption or damage. The agency says it is easier for people to follow the progress of a storm on TV, radio or social media if it has a name. Heavy rain this week could also lead to flooding, the weather agency said. As of 11:00 on Monday, the Environment Agency in England had issued 19 flood warnings, where flooding is expected, and 83 flood alerts, where flooding is possible. There are 36 flood warnings in place in Scotland and one in Wales. The impact of climate change on the frequency of storms is unclear but a warming atmosphere makes extreme rainfall more likely. The world has warmed by about 1.1C since the industrial era began.